Pakistan vs. England: Fourth One Day International Preview
It must be said that England winning an overseas limited overs series by a whitewash is as rare event, with only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe having been defeated in that manner since 1997 – although they did beat South Africa 4-0 in 2008 with a fifth match ruined by the Welsh rain. So we will be watching Tuesday’s game closely, satisfied with a series win but very much hoping to make it four out of four. Tomorrow also sees the annual Brit Awards (the music industry’s equivalent of the ECB’s Business of Cricket Awards). Always a website to have its finger on the pulse of pop culture, we will endeavour to avoid shoehorning references into our work, unless it’s to compare the body-mass indexes of host James Corden and Samit Patel.
In previewing the match, we’ve decided that rather than more or less regurgitate previous match previews, we will instead pose ten questions of varying pertinence.
- The change in Pakistan’s fortunes since the Test series has been bizarre, surprising and moreover somewhat disappointing, because one-sided ODIs are not good for the game. How will Misbah-ul-Haq rally his team when they are already beaten?
- Will Pakistan’s batting line-up continue to look as perplexed against the England quick bowlers as a drunken Brandon Block does on being informed he’s not won an award for best soundtrack?
- The Pakistani opening bowlers have thus far been as competent a pairing as Mick Fleetwood and Sam Fox. Will Gul be able to find a line and length to actually test Alastair Cook, or will he finish the series wicketless and with an economy rate of more than a run a ball (it is currently 7.04 runs per over)?
Steven Finn waves his hands in the air like he just doesn't care.
- Recently Alastair Cook has been receiving plaudits like Annie Lennox wins Brit Awards. But will he win the man of the series award when Steve Finn has been so brilliant with the ball?
- Eoin Morgan has been sure of his place in the shorter forms of the game for some time now; although he finished both the second and third matches not out, he is in desperate need of a sizable score. Will he be given the chance and if so, will he take it?
- Craig Kieswetter’s place in the side is beginning to look as incongruous as Dave Stewart duetting with Shola Ama, but will he have the opportunity to make a decent score and secure his place in the side for the tour to Sri Lanka?
- The consistency of England’s selection policy seems to have been rewarded. But there are a number of players in the squad, such as Tim Bresnan and Jos Buttler, who have carried the drinks admirably but probably deserve game time. Admittedly, little may be learnt, but conversely, when can sides try out alternative players if not in dead rubbers? It may be a tough decision, but England’s choice of players may hint at their long-term thoughts for the side.
The England subsitutes have managed not to spill the drinks over unsuspecting onlookers.
- If Pakistan perform well in the first innings, how will England cope under pressure? In the preceding matches there have been very few occasions when England have been tested at all- part of us wants to see how Morgan, Kieswetter and Patel cope if they have to come in with the score still in double figures.
- Should England complete the victory to take the series 4-0, they will move to 4th in the world rankings. Is it too early to wonder what the odds are on England winning the 2015 World Cup, that importantly will be played in more favourable conditions than last year’s event?
- Irrespective of the result of this game, what will the series mean for Pakistani cricket? After the highs of their Test series win, it would be a pity if the administrators saw fit to insist on changes to the set-up that hitherto had served them so well.
Will coach and captain be smiling again come tomorrow night?